The construction industry faces a number of tumultuous challenges. From unreliable subcontractors, scheduling challenges, high insurance costs, available cash, tax reform, turbulent weather conditions and technology adoption, there’s no shortage of challenges, but recruiting remains the top focus for all contractors.

Trade skill personnel shortages continue to plague the construction industry. The lack of skilled workers, as well as shifts in trade education at high schools, is just the beginning of the problem.

Construction companies are looking to reinvent themselves with technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and creative human resource strategies to address these continued labor pool shrinkages. According to a recent report on construction employment, 38 states are showing increases in their construction industry employment, including West Virginia, Nevada, Wyoming, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Texas and California. The construction industry has added nearly two million jobs since the beginning of the decade and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects continued growth of 11% over the next ten years.

These types of jobs are very difficult to outsource. One significant challenge is convincing the younger workforce to consider trade skills when they are looking at their career path options. Some strategies to help move the needle include getting younger people involved in these types of skills at an earlier age, targeting the younger population through on-line methods and helping to educate teachers and guidance counselors at high schools about the significant opportunities in the construction industry.

Construction companies are also looking at alternative methods for producing construction type items, such as pre-fabrication which is not field-labor intensive. They’re also looking to vertically integrate services, such as design, to gain control over the construction process to increase efficiency on delivering the construction project. Mergers and acquisitions are also high on the list for construction companies in helping to address the quality of the labor force in a variety of trades.

Artificial Intelligence and robotics are gaining a foothold in the construction industry as well. These technologies help lessen the quantity of workforce needed and improve efficiency but do require a more skilled labor force to utilize these tools, which may help in recruiting younger generations.

Growth in the construction industry continues to rise across the U.S. and the cost for commercial construction continues to increase from $237 square foot in Houston to $416 per square foot in San Francisco. Human Resource departments are becoming more diligent in their recruiting efforts with emphasizing items such as safety, fringe benefits, employee-friendly company outings and employee training programs to recruit the best talent in the foreseeable future.

Keeping abreast of all new strategies in this area is critical for the success of the construction company in the future. Contact your BMF Advisor to discuss how we can help with your future success.

 

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